I finished Improv Tower today–just in the nick of time to make today’s deadline to be donated to the 2017 SAQA Trunk Show!

Just so you know, it wasn’t because I procrastinated that it was a last minute entry. I’ve been working on this for several weeks. But I kept running into problems. The rules state that the quilt has to be 10″ x 7″ in a portrait orientation. I like to work small, but I found this measurement to be difficult to obtain. My first two attempts were too big and couldn’t be made smaller.

Potpourri - Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

Potpourri – Cindy Grisdela

Circle Blocks - Cindy Grisdela Art Quilts

Circle Blocks – Cindy Grisdela









Then of course I got fixated on the ideas I already had and couldn’t think of another one that would be more suited to the goal! I wanted it to be an improv quilt that referenced some of the techniques in my new book–Artful Improv.

The idea for Improv Tower came to me in the middle of the night and thankfully I remembered it when I woke up. Lime green and purple is one of my favorite color schemes and I had fun playing with the placement of the purple bars and triangles to come up with an interesting composition. I was able to work backwards on this one from the final size to determine exactly how big to make the central blocks and borders, so it was a little easier.

My favorite echoing swirls free motion stitching motif worked well to tie everything together in the small space. I tried using my usual facing finishing technique, but it seemed to need the narrow lime green binding–done and done!

SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) will put these small quilts into different “trunks” to be sent around the country and the world to share with both art and traditional quilters as examples of what is happening in the art quilt world in 2017, so of course I wanted my work to be represented. The trunks travel for up to three years before either being sold in the SAQA Store or returned to their creators. Visit the SAQA website here for more information about the SAQA Trunk Show.

This is the third SAQA Trunk Show I’ve participated in and I’ll mail Improv Tower off next week, happy to be included again.

Do you ever get stuck on one idea and find it hard to move on? What do you do to get out of the rut? Let me know in the comments!




  1. Glen/QuiltSwissy on December 18, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Yes! I spent almost 5 months trying to work out a quilt for the modern gulld challenge. My problem was the fabric she chose was not modrpern, but a rather old fashioned leaf printing mauve and pale green and blue. It just didn’t feel modern at all and I couldn’t get past that. It worked out, I guess, in the end. My house flooded and the parts I had attempted were lost along with the rest of my sewing room.

    • Cindy on December 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      Wow–that’s quite a story! Sometimes challenges are more challenging than intended for sure. And I’m so sorry about your sewing room flooding. I hope you’ve been able to start recovering from that.